terça-feira, 23 de novembro de 2010

The Audiolingual Method


The Audiolingual Method (ALM) has its emphasis on mastering the building blocks of language and learning the rules for combining them, and it is aimed squarely at communicative competence. One of its principles is that language skills are learned more effectively if they are presented orally first, then in written form. The ALM is still used in some programs today, in situations where one of the prime objectives of learning English is to take and achieve successful results in a variety of tests.


The Audio-lingual Method

The Audiolingual Method (ALM) was widely used in the United States and other countries in the 1950's and 1960's. Particular emphasis was laid on mastering the building blocks of language and learning the rules for combining them. The theory of learning was the Behaviorism, including the principles that language learning is habit-formation, that mistakes are bad and should be avoided, as they make bad habits; that language skills are learned more effectively if they are presented orally first, then in written form; that analogy is a better foundation for language learning than analysis, and that the meanings of words can be learned only in a linguistic and cultural context, according to Lingua Links Library(1).
This method, the ALM, is still used in some programs today, in situations where one of the prime objectives of learning English is to take and achieve successful results in a variety of tests, and where many learners are not intrinsically motivated to learn English but do so because they need to, the method is not without merits, according to English Raven(2).
The Audiolingual Method represents a major step in language teaching methodology that is aimed squarely at communicative competence. The behavioral psychologists dictated the various ways for the drills to be repeated in order to create an effective habit-forming process. The extensive and elaborate drills designed to facilitate overlearning and good language habit forming are important parts of communicative processes in general, according to English Raven(2).
Some of the objectives of the audio-lingual method are: build communicative competence in translators through very intensive language courses focusing on aural/oral skills, create communicative competence in learners through extensive repetition and a variety of elaborate drills, project the linguistic patterns of the language into the minds of the learners in a way that made responses automatic and "habitual", and facilitate the learning of a new set of "habits" appropriate linguistically to the language being studied, according to Lingua Links Library(1).
The types of learning techniques and activities in an audio-lingual course are the dialogues and the drills (instruction, exercise; training). Some key structures from the dialogue below* serve as the basis for pattern drills of different kinds, according to Lingua Links Library(1):
Repetition : where the student repeats an utterance as soon as he hears it
Inflection: Where one word in a sentence appears in another form when repeated
Replacement: Where one word is replaced by another
Restatement: The student re-phrases an utterance
  
*Examples:
          Inflection :        Teacher:   I ate the sandwich.
                                    Student:   I ate the sandwiches.
         Replacement:    Teacher:  He bought the car for half-price.
                                    Student :  He bought it for half-price.
         Restatement:     Teacher:  Tell me not to smoke so often.
                                    Student :  Don't smoke so often!
Drills and pattern practice, by Richards, J.C. et-al. 1986(3).
The typical procedure of the ALM would be:
> Students hear a model dialogue
> Students repeat each line of the dialogue
> Students practice substitutions in the pattern drills (key words or phrases in the dialogue).
The following examples illustrates how more than one sort of drill can be incorporated into one practice session:
Teacher:  There's a cup on the table ... repeat.                
Students: There's a cup on the table.
Teacher:  Spoon.                                                             
Students: There's a spoon on the table.
Teacher:  Book.                                                               
Students: There's a book on the table.
Teacher:  On the chair.                                                    
Students: There's a book on the chair.
Drills and pattern practice, by Richards, J.C. et-al. 1986(3).
This method can be appropriate in certain learning contexts, as in situations where one of the main objectives of learning English is to take and achieve immediate and successful results in a variety of tests, so the method has its merits. There are ways, also, in which the practice involved in the Audiolingual Method can be applied to approach the objectives of those people who want to learn the deep structure of a language, as Audiolingual-based drills can be adapted and used in combination with an appropriate range of other activities, and effective error correction techniques, to create a more independent experimentation and application.   
(Posted by: Rosemary M Monsalve)
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Bibliography:
1 – The Audio-Lingual Method. Lingua Links. Available at: http://www.sil.org/lingualinks/languagelearning/waystoapproachlanguagelearning/TheAudioLingualMethod.htm [This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 3.5, published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 1999. Page content last modified: 21 March 1999. Accessed on November 8th, 2010.
2 - The Audio-lingual Method. English Raven. Available at:
http://www.englishraven.com/method_audioling.html. Accessed on November 4th, 2010.
3 – RICHARDS, J.C. et-al. 1986. Audio-lingual Method: Oral Drills. Examples. Available at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio-lingual_method. Accessed on November 4th, 2010. 

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